Monday, October 27, 2014

Custodial dad convicted of capital murder in death of 4-year-old son; had assumed custody from CPS but a few weeks before (Memphis, Texas)

Another update to the killer dads and custody list. Back in 2010, Child Protective Services gave this father custody, even though the father didn't even know he was a father. Within weeks, the 4-year-old boy had been beaten to death over a brutal 11-day period.

Custodial dad ROBERT MONROE BABCOCK was finally convicted of capital murder in June 2012, and sentenced to life without parole.

West Texas man who killed son gets life without parole

Posted: June 8, 2012 - 11:59am

By BOBBY CERVANTES Morris News Service

MEMPHIS — Following a week of testimony about Chance Mark Jones’ brutal last days, a Hall County jury convicted the 4-year-old’s father of murder Thursday.

Judge Stuart Messer sentenced Robert Monroe Babcock, 39, to life in prison without parole. The jury of six men and six women deliberated for about an hour before returning the guilty verdict Thursday afternoon at the Hall County courthouse.

Prosecutors said Babcock physically abused his son in an 11-day rage in December 2010 that ended with Chance undergoing emergency brain surgery Jan. 4, 2011, at Northwest Texas Hospital in Amarillo.

The boy died a day later at the hospital. His eyes were blackened and swollen shut. A lump appeared on his forehead. More than 100 bruises, cuts and scrapes — some fresh and some old — covered his small body, medical witnesses said.

Graphic images shown to the jury depicted the abuse as the child lay clinging to life, breathing through a ventilator.

Babcock, who took in Chance only a few weeks before beating the boy to death, hung his head as 100th District Attorney Luke Inman characterized him as a recklessly abusive father who had confessed to hitting his son.

“You think to yourself, Chance was imprisoned by this defendant in his own house,” Inman said. “This was the defendant’s torture chamber.”

Inman stood in front of a large photo of the smiling boy — the words “Don’t Take A Chance” appeared over the child’s face — while reminding jurors of the suffering.

“Those things should have never happened to Chance,” Inman said. “This defendant’s actions changed everyone’s life who knew Chance.”

The district attorney pressed the jury to convict Babcock on the capital murder charge, known in legal circles as “mini-cap” because it does not carry the death penalty, while Babcock attorney Dale Rabe urged jurors to find his client guilty of reckless conduct. Jurors also had the options of convicting Babcock of manslaughter or felony murder.

Rabe reminded the jury of medical testimony from defense witnesses, who said a 1993 vehicle rollover that launched Babcock into a barbed-wire fence and required emergency brain surgery had changed the man.

“It was an action he could not control that put him in the situation he was placed in,” Rabe said. Medications Babcock takes “make him prone to aggressive outbursts.”

Earlier in the week, Rabe focused on Babcock’s outcries for help raising Chance to state Child Protective Services officials and relatives. Those pleas went unanswered, Rabe said.

In interviews with police, Babcock said he met Chance’s mother in Amarillo but did not know he fathered the child until 2010, when CPS turned Chance over to him. The boy’s mother has not been identified.

At least five jurors sobbed as Chance’s former caretakers gave witness impact statements. Babcock kept his head low as they spoke.

Heather Hill, who cared for Chance for two years, said she still does not know what to tell Chance’s sister when she asks for him.

“He was a remarkable boy with a beautiful smile that touched everybody,” Hill said. His sister “wants to know when he’ll come back from Jesus so she can play with him.”

Addressing the defendant, Hill said Babcock would always be a murderer in her mind, not Chance’s father.

“He thrived on love and affection,” she said of the boy. “How could you abuse a child that immediately called you Daddy?”